The History of the Decline & Fall of the Roman Empire, Vindication, Autobiography, and Other Works
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The History of the Decline & Fall of the Roman Empire, Vindication, Autobiography, and Other Works
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- Rome, literature, Gibbon, Edward, J. B. Bury, John, Bagnell, Bury, J, B, J., B., History, Roman, Empire, Decline, Fall, Autobiography, Memoir, Memoirs, auto, biography, Essay, Essays, Letter, Letters, Private, Miscellaneous, Works
The 4TH Edition + the 7TH Edition of the 6TH Volume of the Masterpiece of Edward Gibbon (Fellow of the Royal Society), edited by John Bagnell Bury (Fellow of the British Academy)
Cautions for Bidd'at-free Sunni Muslim readers who adhere to the Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi'i, and Hambali jurisprudence and the Ash'ari and Maturidi creed of Sunni Islam:
From "The Meanings of the Noble Qur'aan" (2007)
(Translation & Notes by Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani)
Surah no. 018: Al-Kahf (The Cave): Ayat (verses) number 9 to 27:
Do you think that the People of Kahf (the Cave) [note 1] and Rawqeem [note 2] (inscription) were unusual out of Our Signs?  When the young men took refuge in the Cave and said, "Our Lord, bless us with mercy from Your own and provide us with guidance in our matters."  So, We sealed up their hearing (putting them to sleep) in the Cave for a number of years.  Thereafter We raised them up, so that We know which of the two groups [note 3] had better calculated the period in which they remained (sleeping).  We narrate to you their story with truth. They were young men who believed in their Lord and We gave them more guidance.  We made their hearts firm when they stood up and said, "Our Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth. We shall never invoke any god other than Him, otherwise we would be saying something far from the truth.  These, our people, have adopted gods other than Him. Why do they not bring a clear proof in their favour? So, who is more unjust than the one who fabricates a lie against Allaah?  When you have turned away from them, and those whom they worship, except Allaah, then seek refuge in the cave, and your Lord will extend His mercy for you, and provide you ease in your matters."  You would see the sun, when it rose, turning away from their Cave towards the right; and when it set, it bypassed them towards the left, and they were (lying) in the hollow thereof. [note 4] That is one of the signs of Allaah. Whomsoever Allaah guides is the one who gets the right path and whomsoever He lets go astray, for him you will find no one to help, no one to lead.  And you would think they were awake while they were asleep. We turned them on their sides, right and left. And their dog had its forelegs stretched out to the doorstep. If you had a look at them, you would have fled away from them and would have been filled with awe of them.  In this way We raised them up until they asked each other. One of them said, "How long did you tarry?" They said, "A day, or part of a day." They said, "Your Lord knows best how long you tarried." So, send one of you with this silver (coin) of yours to the city and let him look around which of the eatables are the purest and let him bring you some food from there. And he must act in polite manner, and must not let anyone know about you.  If they (the habitants of the city) will know about you, they will force you to revert to their faith, and in that case, you will never find success."  And in this way, We made them known to the people (of the city), so that they realise that Allaah's promise is true, and that there is no doubt about the Hour (the Day of Resurrection). [note 5] When they were disputing among themselves in their matter, they said, "Erect a building over them. Their Lord knows them best." Said those who prevailed in their matter, "We will certainly make a mosque over them."  Some will say, "(They were) three, the fourth of them being their dog," and some will say, "Five, the sixth of them being their dog, just making conjectures." And others will say, "Seven, the eighth of them is their dog." Say, "My Lord knows best about their number." No one knows them except a few, so do not argue about them except an apparent argumentation. And do not ask anyone of these about them. [note 6[  And never say about anything, "I will do this tomorrow,"  unless (you say - 'if) Allaah wills.' And remember your Lord if you forget, [note 7] and say (to those who asked you about the story of the People of the Cave), "May be, my Lord will lead me to something closer than this to guidance."  They stayed in their Cave for three hundred years and added nine.  Say, "Allaah knows best how long they stayed. To Him belongs the unseen of the heavens and the earth - how well He sees and how well He hears! They have no supporter other than Him and He lets no one share His authority."  And recite what has been revealed to you of the Book of your Lord. There is no one to change His words, and you will never find a refuge beside Him. 
 The story of the People of the Cave, as summarised by the Holy Qur'an, is that these young people, persecuted by a pagan king, took refuge in a cave along with their dog. There they fell into a deep slumber, which was miraculously prolonged without affecting their powers of life. They kept on sleeping in the cave for many years. In the meantime, a Allaah-Fearing king took control of the country. At that point they woke up, and feeling hungry, sent one of them to purchase food for them. He went to the market and offered the coin of the ancient days, and thus the residents of the city ·came to know their story and showed respect to them. After their death, they resolved to erect a mosque in their memory.
This story is known in the Christian resources as the story of the '7 Sleepers'. Edward Gibbon in his 'Decline And Fall of the Roman Empire' (volume 1, Chapter 33) has mentioned its details. According to him, this event took place in the Turkish city of Ephesus, during the reign of Decius, the Roman tyrant, known for persecution of the Christians. According to him, the Seven Sleepers woke up during the rule of Theodosius. The Muslim historians and exegetes of the Holy Qur'an have narrated similar reports with some variance in time and place of the event. Sources of all these reports are too vague to be relied upon. The gist of the matter given by the Holy Qur'an that has been summarised above, is enough for the purpose of the Holy Qur'an who has itself advised us in Ayat (verse) 22 not to indulge in unnecessary details.
 The word 'Rawqeem' in this Ayat (verse) has been interpreted differently. Most of the commentators have taken it to mean 'inscription'. According to them, the emperor had inscribed their names on a tablet and fixed it at the entrance of the cave. That is why they were also named as ·People of 'Rawqeem'.
 One group was of the opinion that they slept only for a single day, while the other group did not give any opinion, and left it to Allaah, as mentioned by the Qur'an itself in Ayat (verse) 19.
 The location of the cave was such that the sunshine would never enter it, because at the time of sunrise, it would divert from the right side of the cave, and at the time of sunset, it would bypass it from its left side. This was a divine arrangement to save them from the heat of the sun.
 The simple meaning of this sentence is that the long sleep of these people and their awakening after such a long period was a clear proof for the people that Resurrection is true and not beyond the power of Allaah Ta'alaa. However, the reports about the Seven Sleepers; both in Muslim and Christian sources, add that the monotheist king of those days believed in the Resurrection, while some of his people denied its possibility. Once he prayed to Allaah to show them a sign that might convince them to believe in Resurrection. No sooner did he pray to Allaah, the People of the Cave woke up, their story was known to everyone, and thus all of them came to believe. If this part of the story is true, this Ayat (verse) may be referring to this event.
 The Ayat (verse) refers to the difference of opinion about the number of the People of the Cave, but instead of resolving the issue by affirming any one of the different opinions, the Ayat (verse) lays down a basic principle to be followed in all such matters. The principle is that one should not involve oneself in the disputes having no practical importance. No practical matter depends on the knowledge of the exact number of these people. As such, no one should waste his time and energy in debating this issue.
7) When the pagans asked the Holy Prophet (S) about the People of the Cave, he replied to them, "I shall tell you this tomorrow." Confident that Allaah will tell him about all these matters, he forgot to say inshaa' Allaah (if Allaah wills). This verse told him the correct etiquette that when one resolves to do something in future, he should say, 'I shall do this insha' Allaah (if Allaah wills)', because one does not know what is going to happen in future.
- 2017-03-06 11:25:13
- John Bagnell Bury
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Reviewer: Lairdkeir - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 1, 2021
A fantastic resource- the best collection of Gibbon's works anywhere. But Gibbon despised as Mohammed as a lecherous paedophile and charlatan; what's with this description?
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